On June 5, 1968, Senator Robert F. Kennedy, a presidential candidate, is shot three times in a hail of gunfire in the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. Five others were wounded.

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Floorplan of the Ambassador Hotel in 1968

Floorplan of the Ambassador Hotel in 1968

The senator had just completed a speech celebrating his victory in the California presidential primary. The shooter, Palestinian Sirhan Sirhan, had a smoking .22 revolver wrested from his grip and was promptly arrested.

Sirhan Sirhan

Sirhan Sirhan

Kennedy, critically wounded, was rushed to the hospital, where he fought for his life for the next 24 hours. On the morning of June 6, he died. He was 42 years old. On June 8, Kennedy was buried at Arlington National Cemetery, also the final resting place of his assassinated older brother, President John F. Kennedy.

Kennedy Gravesites at Arlington National Cemetery

Kennedy Gravesites at Arlington National Cemetery

Shortly after midnight, he gave a victory speech to his supporters in the Ambassador Hotel and then, while making his way to a press conference by a side exit, was fatally wounded by Palestinian Sirhan Sirhan. Sirhan was arrested at the scene and indicted for first-degree murder. A mentally unstable drifter, his motives in killing Kennedy have never been clear. Some journalists have alleged that Sirhan was part of a larger assassination conspiracy, supposedly brought on by Kennedy’s promise to end the Vietnam War if elected president. These conspirators cite forensic evidence and witness testimony that they say proves the existence of additional shooters who were not detained.

In 1969, Sirhan Sirhan was convicted and sentenced to die. In 1972, his death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment when the California Supreme Court abolished the death penalty. Since 1983, he has repeatedly been denied parole by prison officials who consider him a serious threat to public safety.

Sirhan Sirhan (right), convicted of assassinating Robert Kennedy in 1968, with his lawyer, William Pepper, during a parole hearing at Pleasant Valley prison

Sirhan Sirhan (right), convicted of assassinating Robert Kennedy in 1968, with his lawyer, William Pepper, during a parole hearing at Pleasant Valley prison

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2 responses

  1. Birgit says:

    I was too young to remember this but my parents were so sad when they would talk about this. My dad always believed there was a cover-up. He felt this about J.F. too and I tend to agree but we will never know the truth. I hope this man never gets out and it is a shame that he and others like Manson are still alive and livening off people’s tax dollars

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